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Welfare reform on the Web (March 2007): Education - UK - Schools

Effectiveness of private finance initiatives (PFI): study of private financing for the provision of capital assets for schools

N.K. Kakabadse, A.P. Kakabadse and N. Summers

Public Administration and Development, vol.27, 2007, p.49-61

This research investigates the impact on educational provision of the UK government’s controversial £43bn PFI programme. The inquiry focuses on 27 English local education authorities (LEAs) currently or recently involved in PFI initiatives. The investigation examines the effect of PFIs on LEA decision-making processes and discusses the authorities’ assessment of the UK government’s current PFI strategy. The study concludes that PFI is no worse as a mechanism for procuring capital assets than the other options.

England’s National College for School Leadership: a model for leadership education

D. Riley and B. Mulford

Journal of Educational Administration, vol. 45, 2007, p. 80-98

The National College for School Leadership was launched in 2000 to provide a single national focus for school leadership development, research and innovation in state schools. It has a pivotal role in the improvement of teaching and learning in England. This article presents a critique of its strengths and weaknesses.

Experiencing an “inclusive” education: parents and their children with special educational needs

C. Rogers

British Journal of Sociology of Education, vol.28, 2007, p.55-68

This paper uses a series of case studies to draw attention to the difficulties that parents experience when it is expected that their child with special educational needs should be educated in a mainstream school. It highlights the fact that inclusive education policy in the UK , as a concept, process and an experienced reality, denies difficulty rather than embracing it. This is due largely to the fact that inclusion of children with special educational needs in mainstream classrooms is incompatible with school league tables and the current emphasis on testing and good examination results.

Fears grow over academy schools


Labour Research, vol. 96, Feb. 2007, p. 9-11

Academies are independent state-funded schools run by business, religious or voluntary sector “sponsors”. The government intends academies to make up one in ten secondary schools. A survey has found that many local authorities feel they are not involved enough in decisions relating to school academies. Union critics have spoken out about the negative effect the expansion of academies will have on comprehensive education.

Improving poorly performing schools in England

Committee of Public Accounts

London: TSO, 2006 (House of Commons papers, session 2005/06; HC 956)

At July 2005, 1,557 schools fell within the definitions that the Department for Education and Skills and Ofsted use for poorly performing schools. The report examines the Department and Ofsted on trends in poorly performing schools, developing simpler relationships with schools, strengthening school leadership, and dealing with deep rooted failure. The report recommends among other things, that:

  • Ofsted and the Department need to create incentives for schools to evaluate themselves honestly and effectively.
  • Ofsted needs to develop proportionate inspection to apply more of its resources to under-performing schools.
  • More emphasis should be placed on making headteacher posts attractive to good candidates and developing potential leaders.
  • The Department and Ofsted should examine the reasons for the substantial variations between regions in the incidence of schools in Special Measures.
  • Poorly performing schools should seek to collaborate with other better performing schools.

Post-16 pupil performance in Catholic secondary schools in England, 1996-2001

A.B. Morris

Educational Review, vol. 59, 2007, p. 55-69

The New Labour government is actively promoting diversity in provision, encouraging entrepreneurs and faith groups to establish secondary schools. There is evidence that Catholic schools compare favourably with others in respect of their pupils’ academic attainment up to the age of 16, but that these high standards may not be maintained when pupils begin more advanced studies. This paper draws together school inspection reports and examination data to compare levels of academic attainment of Catholic and other schools in the post-16 phase of education. The data suggest that in small Catholic school sixth forms, the performance of pupils compares favourably with other institutions, but that comparative academic productivity declines in large sixth forms in the Catholic sector.

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